Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Drinking Mountain Dew brand soda causes one's testicles to shrink.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 1997]
Origins: Wild rumors like the ones quoted above about a popular brand of lemon-lime soda have been circulating for several years now. The first clue to its questionable veracity is the variety of reported effects: Drinking Mountain Dew will shrink your testicles. Or decrease your sperm count. Or cause your penis to grow smaller. Well, whatever occurs, it only happens to guys, and it hits them below the belt, right? Sounds a lot like the early 1990s legend that claimed
These rumors are primarily spread about PepsiCo's Mountain Dew soft drink, although it has also been told about Mello Yello (a Coca-Cola product which, though still available, has been supplanted by Surge). The key factor is the presence of a dye called
Yellow No. 5, also known as tartrazine, is an FD&C (i.e., approved for use in food, drugs, and cosmetics) coloring dye commonly used to give various foods (such as beverages, candy, and ice cream) a bright lemon yellow color. It has long been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration. It has also been in use since 1916, so if it were shrinking penises and testicles, we'd probably have heard something more than rumors about it by now. (The FDA's established acceptable daily intake [ADI] for tartrazine is 5.0 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day, which is about .01 ounces for a
The FDA has required since 1979 that food and drugs containing Yellow
If you're male and drink a lot of Mountain Dew, you will notice one related but perfectly harmless side effect: quite a bit of yellow liquid will flow out of your penis.
Last updated: 31 December 2005
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